Update (7/18/22, 1:20 p.m. ET): According to a representative, the entire collection of 5,000 KINGSHIP NFT Key Cards sold out within a single day of release. The NFTs were made available to mint beginning Thursday (July 14) and sold out two hours following the release of the final wave on Friday (July 15).
Bored Apes have taken over music culture. They’re running riot in the latest Eminem and Snoop Dogg video. They’ve co-opted Timbaland’s record label. And they’ve traded places with Kygo and Ryan Tedder in the Bored Brothers side project. But perhaps their most ambitious Web3 crossover is about to launch.
KINGSHIP, Universal Music Group’s metaverse band made up of four characters from the Bored Ape Yacht Club universe, will release its genesis NFT on Thursday. The collection of 5,000 NFT “Key Cards” will give fans entry to the KINGSHIP world and unlock a variety of digital and real-life benefits.
“It’s more than music,” explains Celine Joshua, UMG executive vp of commercial innovation and founder of the Web3 imprint 10:22PM. “It’s being able to show the power of what you can do with Web3 … KINGSHIP is a membership, a club and a brand.”
The key card is just the first step in the KINGSHIP story. It will unlock forthcoming partnerships with major brands, as well as unique artwork and immersive digital experiences. For example, holders will get access to a virtual space in one of the four towers in the KINGSHIP world where the band lives. It’s all laid out in an elaborate, cartoon map on the band’s website. “Everything in that map is a clue,” Joshua adds. Over time it will be updated to reveal brand partnerships, rewards and additional parts of the KINGSHIP story.
The genesis collection will feature four different types of key cards, each with traits that reflect one of the four apes from the band. Collect all four key cards and you get exclusive access to all the towers in the KINGSHIP world and exclusive perks.
Newcomers who aren’t familiar with crypto payments can purchase the NFTs with a credit card; KINGSHIP has partnered with NFT Devz and MoonPay so that anyone can pay in dollars. Ethereum and ApeCoin — the native cryptocurrency of the Bored Ape Yacht Club — are also accepted.
As for the music behind the KINGSHIP project, that’s still to be revealed, though Joshua said it involves Grammy award-winning artists and musicians. They’re also working with animator Jack Lanza to bring the band to life.
The apes themselves belong to Jimmy McNelis — a leading NFT collector and founder in the crypto space. He signed four of his Bored Ape collection (or rather, three Bored Apes and one Mutant Ape) to Joshua’s 10:22PM record label and helped create the KINGSHIP project. The band also has a manager named Manager Noët All, another Ape owned by the label.
Perhaps the most ambitious foray into the music industry for NFTs, and the first fully integrated major label project, KINGSHIP is only possible because Bored Ape owners like McNeils have full commercial rights to their NFT, so holders can monetize their apes in any way they like — a unique proposition that wasn’t possible on a broad scale before Web3.
Although the Web3 music space is still in its early stages, Joshua thinks we’ll see a wave of virtual artists born on the blockchain. Comparing it to the music industry’s shift to TikTok after Lil Nas X blew up on the platform, she said, “I think it’s going to take one artist, whether an avatar or virtual artist, to break and the development will begin.”
KINGSHIP’s early access mint will open on July 14 at 9 a.m. PT. The public mint follows on July 15, 9 a.m. PT at the KINGSHIP website.